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Three vintage scenes of men acting out charades with a firework background
Charades is a banger, no matter the year

An Amped-Up Version of Charades? Best Last-Minute Party Game Ever

Amusement that's perfect for procrastinating party planners

Peter Som is an award-winning fashion designer, culinary creator and lifestyle expert. His work has appeared in publications like Bon Appétit, and he's designed clothes for women like Michelle Obama.

December 27, 2023 3:20 pm

Friend of Wondercade, Peter Som — fashion designer whose clothing has been worn by Michelle Obama, culinary creator who’s written for Bon Appétit, and all-around lifestyle guru — is back with a twist on a classic game that even the laziest, most time-crunched host can pull off with aplomb. -NPH

One word. A game. Sounds like: BRAID. GRADE. FADE. Yes, people, it’s that party favorite loved by folks of all ages: CHARADES! Now, before y’all groan and go back to staring at your iPhone while waiting for Aunt Ada to get the ham out of the oven, hear me out. Party games are a great way to get everyone involved in a fun activity — and in particular, this perennial favorite is one of my go-tos, because it doesn’t involve anything complicated: no dice, rubber bands, glue, little houses, calculators, string or remembering too many rules (and listen, for the adults who’ve had a few glasses of chardonnay, that’s a good thing). All you need is your squad, pens and paper. Now, we all know the basic rules of charades: the classic categories of movies, TV, books and songs are written down on slips of paper and then randomly drawn, then are acted out by one person for members of their team to guess by only pantomiming (no speaking allowed!). Well, I love to turn up the volume (in a manner of speaking, of course) with my version of charades which I call Charade Parade.

There are two main switch-ups in this version (with a third one optional). First, instead of one person acting out the phrase with the team guessing, it’s the reverse! All but one of the team members have to act out the phrase together, while one team member guesses. And believe me, antics ensue — because remember, no talking, even among team members. Second, expand or customize the categories to be acted out! Add celebrities, well-known phrases (such as “Shantay, you stay” — iykyk), animals, actors in specific movies — you name it. The world is your oyster. Lastly, and this is the optional but super-fun switch-up, fill up a large basket (or empty out your laundry hamper and fill it) with costumes and props! Wigs, heels and feather boas are standard fare, but for extra hilarity, throw in some random things from around the house, like a tissue box, broom, the two yards of tulle hiding under your bed, a spatula, some oranges (but preferably not Uncle Dashiell’s prized, and very fragile, golf trophy).

And there you go. Nose touch (aka, you guessed correctly in Charade-ese). Happy holidays to all — go forth and enjoy Charade Parade with your loved ones this season. Cheers!

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